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CSUSB’s Stacey Fraser highlighted in work by composer Jack van Zandt
Composers Edition
May 30, 2020

An article about composer Jack van Zandt’s current projects included mention of “The New Frontier,” which he is writing with librettist Jill Freeman for soprano Stacey Fraser, CSUSB professor of music.

“Our original intention was to stage the premiere of the work at California State University San Bernardino’s (CSUSB) fabulous theater early next year,” van Zandt said. “However, given the circumstances, we are in the process of reimagining the work as a video recorded project for internet streaming.”

Van Zandt said: “My recent work, ‘A Chaos of Light and Motion: Four Shelley Songs,” that was premiered on January 30 by soprano Stacey Fraser and a fabulous ensemble of seven instruments conducted by Ruth Charloff, has received a grant to record it in a studio. We are working out a way of doing it this summer hopefully, and will be working with legendary recording engineer Talley Sherwood in his Trident Studio in Burbank, California.”

CSUSB professor discusses problem of white nationalists among police officers
June 2, 2020

Experts are concerned that white nationalists have infiltrated some of the protests flaring in cities across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death — but they know for certain that white nationalists have infiltrated the police.

And they’ve known it for at least 15 years, which is how long federal officials and media investigations have been sounding the alarm about growing white nationalist recruitment among police officers.

“There are scores of officers facing inquiries over their connection to online bias and/or being in bigoted social media pages,” said Brian Levin, the director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “So it’s probable that we’re just getting the tip of the iceberg.”

Amid the recent rise in anti-Semitism, Jewish community leaders have grown increasingly reliant on local police for protection and security consultation. Some in the Jewish community are calling to reexamine this relationship, citing racism in law enforcement and the discomfort Jews of color might feel around police as a result. Levin, who is Jewish, argued that Jews could leverage the historic relationships with both the police and with African-Americans for the betterment of society.

“It gives us a unique opportunity to try to serve as a bridge with many others to address the horrible issue of racism which Jews in particular have a strong moral imperative to address,” he said.

Read the complete article at “The police have a white nationalist problem – and have for at least 15 years.”

CSUSB professor helps explain what Antifa is
The Washington Post
June 2, 2020

Brian Levin, director of the CSUSB Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, was interviewed for an article about the Antifa, a loosely organized segment of far left extremists who President Donald Trump is blaming for the violence at the protests over George Floyd’s death while in the custody of four Minneapolis, Minn., police officers. Trump wants to designate the movement a terrorist group.

There are varying levels of acceptance of violence within the ranks of its supporters.

“Within antifa, there are a large number of folks who, while tolerating violence as a weapon, many of them believe it should be a weapon of last resort,” said Levin. “But a ragged and cacophonous core believe that violence should be the first thing used.”

Levin said that Antifa is no more a group than Red Sox Nation, the baseball fans of the Boston team. Levin said there are certainly dangerous elements on the far left. But he sees more danger in talking about Antifa in a way that lumps in other protesters and movements, like Black Lives Matter, with their radical approach. That could make it easier for the government to monitor these peaceful groups and for Americans to be suspicious of them.

“And that’s a dangerous thing when we’re talking about the use of law enforcement and government,” Levin said. “We have to be very careful not to take peaceful supporters of police reform and lump them in with people who want to blow things up and tear society down.”

Read the complete article at “What is antifa?

Antifa movement is hard to pin down, CSUSB professor and other experts say
Daily Mail (UK)
June 2, 2020

The President calls them terrorists. They have been accused of turning peaceful protests across the country into violent riots. So what is 'Antifa'?

Experts, including Brian Levin, director of the CSUSB Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, say the movement has proven hard to pin down, with no leaders, financial structure or even official groups, making it near-impossible to analyze the true size or power of the group, which often spontaneously assembles as a violent fringe at peaceful protests.

However, the organizer of Antifa news site It's Going Down told CNN in 2017 that their website gets between 10,000 and 40,000 hits on its best days, and a 2019 report by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, lists more than 70 arrests of Antifa supporters at violent clashes across nine states in the past two years.

Center director Levin, who has studied Antifa and other radical movements for decades, told the riots erupting after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers were a typical opportunity for Antifa to assemble and wreak havoc.

“Antifa goes back decades,' he said. 'It has a broad range of folks. It's really a loose network,” he said. “Since these networks are so informal, they tend to come together around events rather than ideologies and personalities.”

Levin, a former NYPD police officer, said the movement includes people who believe in peaceful direct action and also those “who want to burn down society and build it up once it's burned down.”

“When you have a catalytic event it becomes a lamp that not only attracts people looking for reform but also violent interlopers. Some of these folks, I would bet dollars to donuts, are Antifa,” he said. “At their most ragged edge and extreme core this is a group that would like to see violence against civil society, and that not only includes racists but journalists and government officials.”

Read the complete article, “No leaders. No organization. A manifesto to 'burn down society' - and a record of violence going back 20 years. …

CSUSB professor on Antifa: ‘It's like calling Deadheads or Red Sox Nation’ an organization
June 2, 2020

Antifa has become a conservative catch-all under President Donald Trump. Any left-leaning protest that grows unruly is antifa. A mob of people protesting the president could be antifa. Yet Antifa doesn’t appear to have any organizing structure and is connected only by an amorphous political ideology. There’s not much more than anecdotal evidence and blurry Twitter assertions that organized antifa groups showed up at the recent protests, executing any sort of “well-trained” tactics.

“It's like calling Deadheads or Red Sox Nation” an organization, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

Yet there’s a reason Trump, his allies and his base choose to promote the antifa threat, according to researchers into extremism: Doing so amplifies an amorphous danger and allows Republicans to claim the mantle of law and order.

“I do think there's a kernel of truth in what the president is trying to do,” Levin continued. “My issue is that I think he's taking that kernel of truth and exploiting it, potentially for some political purpose that is decoupled from actually addressing extremism.”

Read the complete article at “How ‘Antifa’ became a Trump catch-all.”

‘What is Antifa?’ CSUSB professor helps explain the far-left extremists movement
May 31. 2020

As protests over George Floyd's death spread across the country, officials have blamed the violent nature of some demonstrations on members of a controversial group known as Antifa, short for anti-fascists. President Donald Trump on Sunday said the United States would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, though the federal government has no legal authority to label a wholly domestic group the way it designates foreign terrorist organizations.

The exact origins of the group are unknown, but Antifa can be traced to Nazi Germany and Anti-Fascist Action, a militant group founded in the 1980s in the United Kingdom.

Modern-day Antifa members have become more active in making themselves known at public rallies and within the progressive movement, says Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.

"What they're trying to do now is not only become prominent through violence at these high-profile rallies, but also to reach out through small meetings and through social networking to cultivate disenfranchised progressives who heretofore were peaceful," Levin said.

Read the complete article at “What is Antifa?

These news clips  and others may be viewed at “In the Headlines.”